A £30,000 three-mile handicap chase for veteran horses is the feature of Fakenham’s seven-race card on Easter Monday sponsored by Aldiss.
The course’s most popular race day has attracted an original entry of 11 for the 3.30pm David Keith Memorial Veterans Handicap Chase, including Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham’s Le Reve.
A winner at both Sandown and Lingfield earlier this year, Le Reve was fourth last time at Kelso and faces strong opposition, particularly from the Neil King trained Princeton Royale.
An Ascot winner in March, Princeton Royale is no stranger to the north Norfolk course, having won in June last year and having been placed four times at Fakenham last season.
Kayf Blanco is another useful contender, the Graeme McPherson trained gelding fourth at Kempton having won at Fakenham mid-February.
With races at Fakenham on Easter Monday since 1904 there is a strong chance, having set up his first store in 1892, the original W J Aldiss would have attended. Now 115 years later, the current Aldiss family has its name associated with the Easter race day.
Current Aldiss chairman, Tim Aldiss, will attend a week or so after his 80th birthday and will lead the presentation party for The Aldiss Furnishing Stores Handicap Hurdle at 4.05pm.
David Hunter, chief executive of Fakenham Racecourse said: “I am delighted that Aldiss will be sponsoring our Easter Raceday. The Aldiss name is synonymous with Fakenham, has a strong brand presence in Norfolk, and the fit with the racecourse is perfect.”
There are 26 original entries for the three-miler which sees Jane Williams’ Germain go for a hat-trick after wins at Wincanton in March and April. Acertain Circus for Peterborough trainer Pam Sly won at Market Rasen in March while Shaun Harris has Hear The Chimes, second at Haydock after winning at Huntingdon, in the provisional line-up.
Two last time out winners are in the list for the opening novice hurdle at 1.45pm with Oliver Sherwood’s Dominateur, a Carlisle scorer, and Dan Skelton’s Monsieur D’Arque, having won at Ludlow albeit over a shorter trip.
Skelton has So Lonely entered in the 2.55pm Cecil and Sheila Buttefant Memorial Handicap Hurdle following a Huntingdon victory while Christian Williams has Lace Bonnet, the grey mare having won at Warwick in April.
The closing bumper is at 5.15pm with Skelton’s Bergamot, second at Taunton in April, and Vienna Court, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ filly, two of major interest.
The other two contests are hunter chases with the Robert Hoare Memorial Trophy the prize at 2.20pm and the Queen’s Cup going to the winner of the 4.40pm.
Words by Terry Redhead.